Ghent Altarpiece (1430-32) by Jan van Eyck is the "defining piece of the Catholic Church." Why does this upset me so much? For two reasons: first, it suggests that for the first 1400 years of the Church's existence, it wasn't able to define itself or its theology; secondly, that all the Church does believe can be reduced to these panels of wood and paint.
Michelangelo's scaffolding was built from the walls out, not from the floor up, and he stood rather than lying down on his back the whole time; why are these details important? Because reality is important, reality reflects God as He sees Himself, so that's why liberals are so quick to dismiss reality, they hate it, and they re-interpret reality to reflect their own self, not God and His Order. Ultimately, the reference alluded to but never built upon probably refers to the health problems Michelangelo experienced as a result of his labor on the ceiling: with the paint constantly dripping in his eyes, he nearly went blind from painting the world's masterpiece. Ironically--the real joke to be made--in giving himself to this work for four years, and so completely in his spirituality, Michelangelo might have lost some of his sight, but he gained that greater, interior vision allowing him to see the real meaning of Scriptures and Holy Wisdom so he could paint the ceiling. To contrast this, the film makers can't even see the historical record, much more the lofty heights of the Divine.
The primary objective for making Monuments Men is to eradicate the claim by conservatives--such as myself--that socialism is just like the Nazi party, and the failed communism of the former-Soviet Union, but throughout the film, they prove over and over that they are exactly like the Nazis and the Soviet communists: two films and the "philosophical basis" of the film both demonstrate this.
|The view in this image we see is when the piece is closed (something the film never bothers to show us): the top and bottom, four "outer panels" (with Adam on the left, Eve on the right, Angelic choirs and the bottom to outer panels with the gathering faithful) are hinged so they can be folded inwards (towards the image of Christ Enthroned and the Marriage of the Lamb); when folded as such, the back panels then illustrate Mary's Annunciation, as well as portraits of the donors who made the piece possible. Some would say the donors being pictured on the panels makes this a "vanity piece," they never wanted to be forgotten as being rich and among the affluent; such a reading is not only base but ignorant. The donors are depicted with all their earthly shortcomings, the ugliness of their personal sins written in their aging bodies, bulging veins, watery eyes, warts and baldness; this is not a vanity piece, it is a penitent piece, asking people, even today, to pray for their souls and offer Mass for them, that God might have mercy upon their souls so they could advance to Heaven (the donors being on the outside panels symbolizes them being on "the outskirts of heaven" and the saints in the middle--John the Baptist and John the Evangelist--symbolize what the donors, and each one of us, is called to become: saints; the earthly misery of the donors bodies being so obvious is meant to convey the sins upon their souls, while the stone statues of the saints reminds the viewer of Christ's command to be "living stones" alive with the Holy Spirit and solid in their teaching of Jesus Christ; as the donors advance in their spiritual life, they are to become more and more like the saints, the friends of God, and thus advance closer to the Lamb pictured just underneath . I used to be a Protestant, I know most of the Christian brethren reject Purgatory, but these two humble sinners, advanced in age and knowing their time for judgment was coming, wanted to do a deed of good stewardship with the resources God had blessed them with and earn the prayers and aid of their fellow Christians with prayers and penance they would not be able to achieve themselves (this is thoroughly covered in Dante's Purgatorio, and is a much more in-depth discussion than we can cover here). The purpose of the Annunciation being in the upper panel is to remind people that they, too, are called to say "yes" to God just as the Virgin Mary did. When I was still a Protestant, I wasn't able to enter into the mystery of Mary's "yes," her fiat, because in my immaturity, I only saw that Mary was going to get to be the Mother of the Messiah, so of course she was going to say yes; Catholics, on the other hand, understand that Mary understood the Messiah was coming, not to be crowned and glorified, but to suffer, and that in saying yes to God, she not only agreed to allow her only Son to suffer, but agreed to suffer with Him, that is why, in Annunciation scenes, Mary is always seen with a book, it's the Scriptures, which she read with deep wisdom so she knew what was being prophesied about His Coming and she entered into it with Him. The donors, then, are offering the Ghent Altarpiece as their own yes to God, because it would have been exceedingly expensive during this time, but also to make of themselves humble examples of the spiritual life and the need for salvation.|
Cowboys and Aliens: the US-British Alliance for more). When Jake (Craig) walks into the control center of the aliens space ship, he sees teeth with gold fillings; Granger picks up a handful of gold fillings in Monuments Men, acknowledging that the Nazis confiscated the teeth of the Jews for the gold. Why is this important? Cowboys and Aliens was warning about the on-coming socialist threat from liberals like Clooney, Damon, Goodman, Murray and the rest of left-wing Hollywood; Monuments Men conceding how the Nazis extracted the gold from human beings, is reflected in the way the film extracts the monetary value of the paintings, disregarding the "life" of higher purpose and instruction art offers because just as the Nazis denied that the Jews were even human, so the makers of Monuments Men deny that art invokes any Higher Being (God; please see the commentary in the image below for further elaboration).
|The group arrives at a castle where they have been told they can find a lot of the work from Paris, and when one of them looks over a rail, he sees a work that every single person in the art world knows, The Burghers of Calais, made in honor of the six leaders of Calais who sacrificed themselves to Edward III so he would spare the city death and destruction. When one of the Monuments Men sees the sculpture, he merely says, "A Rodin," a moves on. Why? These are leaders sacrificing their lives for the people, and that's NOT how socialism works, is it? When does Kim Jon II of North Korea ever suffer for his people? When did Hitler suffers for the Germans? When did Stalin suffer for the Soviet Union, or Castro for Cuba, Mao for China, Pol Pott or any of his party for Vietnam? No, they make the people suffer for them, just like Michelle Obama asking people to give up their wedding money to send into Barack for his campaign, or give up their pizza night to send him money, (Navy Seal Team 6 killed Bin Laden but Obama took full credit for it) but she's spent well over $10 million in vacations, and he has played far more golf than meetings with the job council. Socialists MUST do away with religion to make themselves god so they can demand people suffer for them, rather than suffer for Jesus. In placing The Burghers of Calais in the film, the film makers made the terrible mistake of revealing their own lack of understanding of how art communicates to people, how it reminds us of what good leaders are--those who suffer for their people rather than demanding that the people suffer for them--because all of socialist thought, again, hinges upon people not having souls or free will. AGAIN, when one of the Monuments Men sees this sculpture, and all he says is, it's "A RODIN," it substantiates what I have written: socialists (these filmmakers in particular) deny any higher meaning associated with art and only value the material presence of the piece, just like the Nazis accumulating the art for the material value, not the spiritual or human value, so this piece, too, demonstrates how the film makers--while trying to distance themselves from the Nazis--prove they are every bit as bad.|
12 Awesome Radical Catholic Ideas by Nathan Schneider, could have been written by Marx himself. Like The Conjuring--the small-budget horror film released summer 2013, that did so well at the box office--there is a calling for the Catholic Church to not be Catholic anymore, to--instead--be a branch of the government that deals with the poor, makes people feel good and instructs them to obey the government. Schenider's article, like the article in Rolling Stones calling for "social change," wants the Church to become a servant of THIS WORLD, the EXACT SAME WAY THAT JUDAS WANTED JESUS TO BE A SOCIAL/POLITICAL FIGURE rather than a spiritual Messiah. People like Schneider and the film makers see this world as the primary world, the end-all-be-all of existence, instead of seeing heaven as our destination and this world as the means to ready us for eternity. The Monuments Men has the Catholic Church in nearly every scene, but it's an institution, a group of people who collectively own some great art, nothing else, and therein lies one of the many signs of the dangerous times in which we live.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner